Jubilee

  • by Shelley Harris
  • Narrated by Sartaj Garewal
  • 10 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

It is 1977, the Queen's Silver Jubilee, and a photographer captures a moment forever: a street party with bunting and Union Jacks fluttering in the breeze. Right in the centre of the frame, a small Asian boy stares intently into the camera. The photograph becomes iconic, a symbol of everything that is great about Britain. But the harmonious image conceals a very different reality. Amid the party food and the platform shoes, the pop music and the punk, there are tensions in the Cherry Gardens community. As the street party begins, those tensions threaten to erupt. Fast forward to the present and the boy, Satish, has become a successful cardiologist, saving lives, respected by those around him. But he is living with a secret. When Satish is asked to take part in a reunion of those involved in that Jubilee photograph, he must confront the truth about that day, and the events that changed the course of his life.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Good Premise but not a Gripping Listen

Jubilee is about a photograph taken during a Silver Jubilee street party in 1977. The photograph is populated by white families but it also features a smiling Asian boy, Satish, the protagonist of the story.

The photograph becomes iconic - an example of "Multicultural Britain", and later a punk band (think the Sex Pistols or the Clash) use the photograph on their album cover, further immortalising the image.

30 years later the now famous photographer, wants to recreate the photo that launched his career, using the original `cast'.

But Satish, now a successful paediatric cardiologist, is reluctant to take part, and as the story unfolds we learn why.

For Satish that Jubilee day wasn't as joyous an event as it appeared to be in the picture.

Whilst the concept of telling the 'real story' behind the photo is an interesting one, the novel itself is lacking in pace and was problematic for me. It is very well narrated and there are some good examples of the cultural missteps that were happening in Britain during the late 70s but the story itself is very slow and the chapters set in the present lacked depth and verged on boring at times.

Other reviews I have read said the reveal of what happened to Satish on that Jubilee day was an anticlimax; however I disagree. Sure, worse things happen in crime novels etc. but that doesn't lessen the awfulness of what happened to the young Satish in this story. Perhaps the structure and the more drawn out parts of the book lessened the impact of the incidents for other readers.

Ultimately this story had huge potential but turned out to be disappointing. It felt as though it had been padded out in places to meet the word count requirement of a novel and would have probably been more gripping and better paced as a short story or a novella.

Some parts were good but it wasn't a compelling listen.
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- Jeeds

Jhumpa Lahiri Is The American Shelley Harris

I bought it on a 2 for 1 sale. But 'Jubilee' is certainly far from being a half-creditworthy listen.
It's a multi-layered, well-balanced, sensibly written story with memorable characters. An excellent prose with wity vocabulary and very original syntactic solutions. An utterly courageous prose as well, with authentic language of the 70's. The narration is superbe.
I'm looking forward to hear some more about Mrs. Harris. Well done!
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- Péter

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-04-2012
  • Publisher: Orion Publishing Group Limited